Theatre Mirror Reviews - "Almost, Maine"

"What Happened in Boston, Willie"

Reviews of Current Productions

note: entire contents copyright 2007 by Beverly Creasey

All Shook Up

By Beverly Creasey

Snow lovers haven’t had much to write home about so far this winter. So if you’re a fan of the fluffy stuff, SpeakEasy Stage has a little comedy for you which answers the question: How many Maine-iacs does it take to light up a stage? The answer is nineteen---and they’re all portrayed by four talented actors.

John Cariani’s ALMOST, MAINE, (playing through March 10th at the BCA) is a sweet collection of oddball scenes, all of which take place in the same town at the same time. The fun comes from watching four actors portray the myriad denizens of the territory which “almost” got it together to incorporate into a town.

The SpeakEasy’s light powder confection takes place on a disk which looks like the base of a snow globe (designed by Audra Avery) filled with sheltering evergreens and lots of falling white stuff. The snow shakes down like fairy dust, enchanting what otherwise might be ordinary domestic discord. Take, for instance, the woman with a broken heart who thinks it never can be restored. This is magic time in Aroostook County and all it takes to mend her heart is a sturdy repairman and an unexpected kiss.

Or take the tomboy who doesn’t think she’s interested in love. All she needs is —you guessed it---a kiss, or two, from a determined, indomitable Down Easter and before you can say “You can’t get there from here,” the fur is flying. Not all the scenes have happy endings. One woman comes back home too late and one couple fesses up to a lost cause over a lost shoe. In my favorite scene, two husky ice fishermen discover happiness through the (new?) comedic genre of the romantic pratfall.

Director Paul Daigneault keeps the action airy as a soufflé and Maureen Keiller manages to get slapstick laughs (as a careless laundress with an airborne ironing board) as well as sympathy for her unhappy home life while charming and curing Barlow Adamson’s painless affliction.

Adamson and Kevin Kalinsky reap comic gold from mere ice as hapless refugees from the dating wars and Elaine Theodore gets frenetic mileage as the exasperated, un-engaged veteran of an eleven year relationship.

If light comedy is your cup of tea, then ALMOST, MAINE should be your warm and fuzzy destination this winter.

"Almost, Maine" (16 February - 10 March)
Boston Center for the Arts, 527 Tremont Street, BOSTON, MA
1 (617) 933-8600

THE THEATER MIRROR, New England's LIVE Theater Guide